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Life in the Maya Civilization An error occurred trying to load this video. Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support. As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 75,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more. Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed. 0:08 Life in the Maya Civilization 0:29 The Maya City 1:40 Life in the City 4:34 Lesson Summary. Want to watch this again later? Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado. Today, you are an ancient Maya. Congratulations! Do you know what that means? You now live in the Yucatán Peninsula of Central America, you speak the Mayan language, and you have a Maya name. Let's call you B'alam. Hey there, B'alam. Biix a beel ? How do you do? As a Maya person, you are currently living in a small stone or wood house in the jungle. You have a small farm on your land, which you constantly have to keep cleared from all those jungle plants. Nearby is a freshwater sinkhole in the limestone called a cenote. You can go there for fresh water if you need, but be careful B'alam. The cenotes are places where the gods dwell, and if you anger them, you may have to make sacrifices by throwing maize or stone statues into the cenote. Today, you are heading into the city to take itempiamos lubos kaina klaipeda university of a little business. As you pass through the jungle, being careful to watch for jaguars, you see a few deer. Most days you may try and hunt them, since this is your main food, but today, you need to get into the city. The glorious city. Oh B'alam, the city means so much to you. You see, you don't consider yourself a Maya because there is no single Maya kingdom or empire. Instead, each city is its own independent government, called a city-state. So, the people of Tikal tulsa university basketball team themselves as Tikalans; the people of Copán see themselves as Copanians. Sometimes you go to war with the other cities; other times you trade with them as partners, but your identity is tied to this city. As you enter the city, you pass through an entrance in the wall called a corbel arch. In all of the Americas, only the Maya use this architectural feature. It involves using increasingly longer stones in a doorway until they meet at the top, forming something like an arch. This makes for stronger walls. Inside the city, you see people doing business, shopping, gossiping, and worshipping the gods. As you keep walking, you pass a theatrical group performing the traditional Maya play, the Rabinal Achíwhich tells a story from local mythology. As Maya, you enjoy theater and art, and the city is covered in performances, statues, and wall murals. Eventually, B'alam, you pass the central plazathe center of a Maya city. This square area has the most important buildings in the city, including government offices, palaces, and the central temple. This temple is on top of a stepped pyramidbuilt by stacking continually smaller platforms on top of each other. There are no human sacrifices today because you're not at war. Traditionally, the Maya didn't practice human sacrifice, but after that other civilization up north, the Aztecs, became very powerful, a lot of their customs started influencing Maya culture. Get FREE access risk-free for 30 days, just create an account. No obligation, cancel anytime. Select a subject to preview related courses: In the main palace is the Ajawthe king of your city. As you pass by the plaza, you'll probably see several government officials, engineers, and priests running about, fulfilling the wishes of the Ajaw. Many of these people are holding folding bookswhich are books of tree-bark paper made into one long page that's folded into a book with several pages. These books are full of the writings of your city. As a Maya, you are part of the only culture in the Americas with a true written language, meaning a writing system that fully represents your entire spoken language. Your language uses over 500 symbols to represent words, sounds, or ideas, so only the very educated scribes really know how to read and write. Sorry, B'alam, but as a farmer, you don't get to learn how to read and write. You finished up your business in the city and start heading back. You pass a few more major buildings on your way out. First is the ball courts, where athletes compete to knock a rubber ball through high hoops without using their hands. Next, you see an observatory for watching the movements of the stars and planets. Astronomy is very important to you, B'alam. It defines your calendar, a mixture of a 365-day sun calendar and a 260-day moon calendar that interact in a 52-year cycle called the round count. This count helps you know when to plant crops, when to harvest, when to make sacrifices to the gods, when to start a journey, and pretty much anything else you need. For anything more than 52 years away, you look to the writing paper products manufacturers count calendarwhich measures time in thousands of years. As a Maya, you are aware that time is cyclical, so it repeats itself while still moving forward. You are thinking about this as you arrive home to your farm and your family. Dinner is cooking, and you need to get a good night's sleep before another busy day in your Maya life. In your time as B'alam, member of the Maya how to write not equal to in sql queries, you saw a lot of your city. Since the Maya did not have a central king or empire, each city was its own independent government, called a city-state. This city is the basis for your identity. The government in the city, lead by the Ajawor kingmaintained Maya religion and politics, and kept records by writing in folding bookslong pieces of paper AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) write essay service into multiple-page books. The Maya had the only true Essays Blog: Customized Essay system in the Americas, with over 500 characters. You also saw the stepped pyramida pyramid made from stacking continually smaller levels of platforms, where the gods were worshiped. To plan your next visit to the city, you may use the round counta calendar based on observations of the sun and moon in a 52-year cycle. For anything longer than that, you'll need the long count calendar. So plan ahead, B'alam, and come back sometime to visit the Maya. As you come to the end of the lesson, gauge your ability to vividly imagine what life would have been like as a member of the Maya civilization.